Essay on The Return of Martin Guerre

1073 WordsApr 9, 20115 Pages
The Return of Martin Guerre The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the book "The Return of Martin Guerre" by Natalie Zamon Davis. Specifically, it will discuss the life of the peasant during the Middle Ages. This book is a fascinating account of a true case that happened during the 16th century in France. The book is also an excellent example of how the peasants lived in the Middle Ages, from what they ate, to how they traveled and what their family lives were like. This book shows that life in the Middle Ages was difficult and demanding, but it seems a little bit peaceful and serene, too. The main occupations were farming and raising sheep or goats, and there were tradesman in the villages who worked for a…show more content…
In the Basque country, families often lived together, as the author notes, "When a household is set up with two generations of married folk, it is not the Basque combination of the old heir and the young heir, but a widowed parent, usually the mother, with one of her married children" (Davis 11). Even when Martin's uncle married, he moved nearby to another house, and lived close to his relatives. Martin returned with his bride to his father's house after they married, and lived with his family under one roof (Davis 18). Since their main concern was survival and perpetuation of the family, this indicates how important family life was to the peasants. Women had a lesser position than men did in the society. Davis writes, "At the parish mass, she would have to get used to the fact that her women did not push ahead of the men to make their offerings, did not go about the church to collect for the vestry, and din not serve as sacristans" (Davis 15). Women were also blamed for a man's impotence, as Davis notes. She writes, "In the sixteenth century, it was usually blamed on the power of a woman outside the marriage" (Davis 21). The fact that Martin abandoned his wife and newborn son after eight years of marriage shows what low status women had in society. She had no recourse, she lived in a foreign household, and she could not even remarry. Girls were not
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